The combination of the Porsche 997 GT3R and Trackspeed’s trio of pro drivers proved too strong for the rest of the Avon Tyres British GT Championship as the team ended qualifying for tomorrow’s two hour race at Rockingham first, second and third.
Of the trio Nick Tandy and Richard Westbrook arrived at the top of the timesheets late on. By the time they were nearing the ultimate pace Keen had been a fixture on provisional pole since the first ten minutes of the half hour session. His early lap of 1:22.792 had smashed the time set by Stephen Jelley to take pole in last year’s race.
He would improve still further on his own time – down to 1:22.644 – but only after Nick Tandy had snatched pole position away, the Porsche works driver taking the #31 car he share with David Ashburn to pole position. The Porsche domination was completed in the final minute of running when Richard Westbrook moved up one position from the outside to the inside of the second row, demoting the #23 McLaren of Alvaro Parente and Zak Brown back to fourth and the best of the rest.
Parente, making his first appearance in British GT this year, believed he and the McLaren had the pace to challenge for pole when he went out on a second fresh set of tyres for the session. However, the Portuguese found himself battling a vibration, preventing him from improving on his earlier flyer that had briefly held pole before Keen installed himself in the number one spot.
Lee Mowle and Joe Osborne’s #8 888Optimum BMW Z4 and the United Autosports Audi will share the third rwo after laps from Osborne and Matt Bell respectively. The top five were all under Jelley’s 2012 marker.
The three Porsches that will form the front of the grid were split by exactly a tenth with the top nine ending the session in the same second, the first man outside the bracket Jonny Adam whose lap of 1:23.574 had been another to briefly hold pole position. Eleventh, despite showing good pace in both practice sessions was the M-Sport Racing Audi qualified only twelfth.
GT4 honours went to Dan Eagling in the Redgate/Lifetime Racing Ginetta G40 and a time of 1:31.372. He took the class pole in the second half of the session, following co-driver Matt Smith into the car. He replaced Century Motorsport and Declan Jones who held the psotion after an early lap.
The two hour race is scheduled to begin at 1:05pm. theCheckeredFlag.co.uk will have full live text coverage of the race.